Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday's Inspiration

With the last of my green alpaca and some odd novelty wool in my stash, I wove a piece of fabric and felted it. This morning the creative process did not disappoint.
And this is all that's left

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scarf In A Day Class in Ruidoso

Last week I taught my "Scarf In A Day" class at The Stitching Post in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
Rita with her weft yarn perfectly angled
The owner, Kathie Bryant is a busy lady with her main store in Midland, Texas. She drives to the mountains of New Mexico each week where she has that store open Thursday through Sunday. As far as I can tell, as soon as she shows up on Thursday the yarn party begins. What an inspiring and fun place to hang out.

And what fun I had teaching this group!

Ava concentrating on an even beat
-- Ava was my youngest student yet. At age 12, she's a natural and I predict this won't be the last time she weaves.

Jane with her beautiful scarf

James with his "special" wool scarf

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Squirrel Picnic and Croshades on Aliens

Once upon a time, I lived in Virginia. In my little weaving studio in the woods I had an apprentice named Jennifer. She was an art student whose creative brain never stopped. She constantly reminded me to not take life too seriously.  Fifteen plus years later and she's still making me laugh. Check out her blog, Squirrel Picnic, where she creates wild and wacky critters in crochet who have all sorts of adventures AND she gives away free patterns so you can make them too. 
This alien didn't have ears
so I had to hold them on
In a recent post from this summer she designed a pattern for crocheted sunglasses she calls "Croshades" to protect the eyes of poor objects d'art who never get a break from the sun. Read all about it here!

She challenged her readers to make their own croshades. I couldn't resist the challenge. I  crocheted a couple pair of my own and took them along on a recent visit to Roswell's Alien Museum.

Like her Facebook Page too while you're at it!            

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Knot for Knitters Only

Next month I'll be teaching Beginning Weaving at The Stitching Post Yarn Shop in Ruidoso New Mexico. While I was there working on our schedule, Kathie introduced me to a yarn she sells by Feza called Alp Premier. It's made up of a variety of novelty yarns all knotted together and knitters make wonderful yummy things with it. I couldn't resist buying a skein to weave on my Cricket loom.

And here's the final scarf. I love all the textures from the different novelty yarns and the patterns they created. This was a super quick and easy project. Love it!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Little Squares Everywhere and Summer Travel Fun

While traveling this summer, I packed my new Zoom Loom. I couldn't wait to try out the new portable loom from Schacht Spindle Company. But I was pretty sure I'd get bored making little squares. Well not at all. I was soon addicted and making lots of squares... in the car, visiting friends, and even at a party with live entertainment.

I started with a skein of turquoise alpaca. When I got bored with one color, I used some of my own hand-dyed, handspun merino wool. Then I mixed the alpaca and merino in some of the squares. So what does one do with 50 plus little squares?
My modern version of a granny square vest
And then we visited family in Pittsburgh and off to the Three Rivers Art Festival where I discovered the FiberArts Guild of Pittsburgh and their latest project - Knit the Bridge.
I added a few rows of crochet to the project. Wish I could be there for the installation of this largest yarn bomb in the US scheduled to cover the Andy Warhol Bridge in August.
Last stop was Michigan and there in the little village of Spring Lake was a wonderful fabric store where I spied a dress by Katherine Tilton, Butterick B5881. I bought the pattern and came right home and made it using some linen from my stash. Here's my version.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Kool-Aid Dyeing and Spinning

I started a spinning group this year as a study group extension of our fibercraft guild.

Bette Bossel at the Drum Carder,
Jessie Hanson at the Spinning wheel
with her daughter helping out.
For our May meeting our plan was to learn how to use a drum carder to create batts. I dyed the fiber with Kool-Aid dyes. This was my first attempt at Kool-Aid dyeing and it turned out a bit whimpy in the color department.

The recipe I found on-line said to mix 1 package of Kool-Aid in 8 ounces of water for every 2 ounces of fiber. The fiber
absorbed all the liquid and clearly need more. I added at least another 8 ounces of water to each of my colors and you can see the results above. And all ages were represented.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Too much fun in my studio!

I recently did a bit of traveling and needed a portable project -- or two (I'll write about the other one real soon).  So I ventured off the handweaving path just a bit. I had no clue what it would be when I started, but I packed my size 11 knitting needles and whipped this up quite quickly. When I returned to my studio, I discovered that the thrums (waste yarn after a piece is cut off the loom) from my Zen Jacket were the perfect fringe along with some blue ribbon I had left from another project. So fun!
As always, I was inspired by Blue Heron Yarns handpainted skeins. This one is Rayon Loopy in the Mossy Place colorway.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Zen Jacket

And here is the jacket I made from the fabric of the previous post, Throw the Shuttle, Beat the Threads. 
This year, I've had lots of fun experimenting with new yarns and creating new fabrics.
For this warp I used a hand-painted skein of Bamboo Lace from Blue Heron Yarns and combined it with a solid green Bambu 7 from Silk City sett at 18 ends per inch. The weft was 8/2 Tencel.
The finished fabric drape is amazing. I wanted to keep the garment simple to show off the beauty of the color changes. It started out as a simple kimono. Then I added panels under the arms for more ease. It seemed to need something more in front. So I added a shaped neckline with an extra panel for an assymetric front and buttons.
The sleeves were twice as long but I didn't like the way they hung. I folded the fabric back on itself and stitched which gave it more stability.
I love this jacket. And woven into the fabric is the memory of my much needed zen moments that helped create it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Throw The Shuttle, Beat The Threads

Ever since leaving an office job to study fiber arts, the loom has been my constant companion. And fibers and colors have been my inspiration. 

I do periodically find myself immersed in a creative project on the computer using digital photos and Photoshop. And yes, I get a bit compulsive when I'm working on one of these projects, I hardly come up for air. I have this thing . . . I don't want to stop until it's perfect, especially when it's a commission.

But today, when I finished the computer part of the project, all I could think of was my loom waiting patiently in the corner.

The rhythmic throwing of the shuttle and the beating of the threads into place were just what I needed. No need to think. No need to obsess. No deadline. Just "throw the shuttle, beat the threads, throw the shuttle, beat the threads, throw the shuttle, beat the threads . . ." Ahhh, this is my meditation. This is the space I need right now. This is the way it's been done for centuries, one thread at a time produces a cloth.

And this is where the woven cloth and technology meet.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Parrot in My Studio

I'm so excited about this new hand-painted yarn in "Parrot" colorway. It's a rayon metallic from Blue Heron Yarns. I now carry several different types of their handpainted skeins in my studio. 

 For this project, I matched the warp threads to create the color blocks. For the weft I used a fine orange bamboo thread. The drape of this fabric is amazing. It's light weight and drapey with just a touch of bling from the gold metallic in the threads.

Right now it's a very long scarf that's draped on my manniquin. Eventually, it may become a garment but for now, I just want to enjoy it in my studio.